Awhile vs While
Awhile and while are two words in English grammar which people often mistakenly understood as one and the same in meaning. Generally, these words are used to refer to a period of time. Now, let’s see how these two differ from each other.
Awhile is defined as an adverb and is usually used right after a verb. When a person says awhile, it should mean a short length of time. Take this example: “Can you hold on for a moment? I’ll be done in awhile.” Of course, you cannot let a person hold on if you are not going to be back right away.
While is a noun meaning a period of time, however the length of time is not finite. Because of this, it is advisable to use adjectives before this word. “We might not see each other for a while.” This sentence does not have a clear meaning as to when are you seeing each other again, unless you put the word long or short.
Difference between Awhile and While
Both words refer to a span of time. Awhile means a short period of time and while refers to an indefinite span of time. When you say “I will be staying here for awhile.” you are giving the other person the assurance that your stay will be brief. However if you say “I will be staying here for a while”, you are sending out the message that you are going to be there indefinitely. To give the second sentence a definite length, all you have to do is add an adjective (e.g. long or short) before the word while.
These words seems to be tricky but one thing we are sure of, you can use awhile when you mean a short span of time, and opt to use while when you don’t mean a definite length of time.
• Awhile is used when you refer to a short span of time; while does not necessarily mean a specific length of time.
• When using awhile, you are already giving the impression that it is going to be brief, but when you use while, it does not give a definite time frame.
• You can add adjectives to while, like short while, to give an impression of time, you do not need to do that when using awhile.